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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  May 13, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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good evening, i'm chris matthews. in washington where i just gave the commencement address at a rousing temple university graduation day. what a great place. leading off tonight, nasty newt. newt gingrich just can't stay away. the phantom of the republican opera revved up his nasty machine last night on fox news, and aimed it straight at president obama. >> president obama should be ashamed of himself. the president of the united states, a year and a half before an election, to deliberately use dishonest scare tactics, it demeans the united states. >> this from the grinch of menacing scare tactics himself. we've got a long list of nasty newtisms tonight from comparing the fight against the president to the fight against the nazis. to warning against the alleged threat of gay and secular fascism, whatever that means.
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newt using the tactics that make him what he is. our top story tonight. plus he can run but he can't hide. remember the scene in raiders of the lost ark when harrison ford is running from a boulder? well, health care is that boulder and mitt romney is indiana jones. that boulder is his massachusetts health care plan. it will always chase him, because his campaign message essentially has become, don't vote for president obama, he did exactly what i did. also, we all know oil companies are making record profits these days. is it, as they say, un-american to question their tax breaks? that's what conoco phillips says. try defending that in front of is the people you're hitting for four bucks a gallon. and the more we learn from bin laden's diaries, the more we learn about bin laden spent much of his time obsessed with attacking the u.s. so much for george w.'s notion that he had become irrelevant. >> finally, the brainwash of the
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day, mike huckabee's so-called unbiased cartoon version. wait until you see this joke. a "sideshow" you can't me. we start with the scare tactics of newt gingrich. josh marshall is the author of talking points and jeanne cummings. first of all, you heard newt gingrich say president obama should be ashamed for his dishonest scare tactics. here's some of newt's most recent observations. let's listen. >> the most radical president in history has now thrown down the gauntlet to the american people. >> look, i think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. >> the nazis don't have a right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in washington. >> the secular socialist agenda is clearly for america, fundamentally different than america has been for the last
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400 years. >> when you hear that term "nazi" that's one of those inflammatory words that could turn people off of any message you might have. >> well, look, the fact is if you look at the threat that they represented to the american way of life -- i'm not talking about the moral equivalence, i'm talking about the finality of losing. >> what is the story here, josh, here's a fellow that came into politics in the 1980s. became speaker. using very rough language. in fact he advocated the use of nasty approaches to politics. he's never been a positive figure in american politics. now, using this kind of language which would really suit an attack on him against the president? >> i think the thing about newt gingrich is, newt is about angry
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hyperbole. it rouses and exhilarates his supporters. it's the kind of thing that's supposed to -- and he still has the capacity to do it, catchoff -- off-guard opponents and sort of shock them with the level that -- just the extremity that they'll go to. so he's not against gay rights activists, he's against gay fascism. and he talks about the president of the united states being an alien radical who's thrown down the gauntlet against the american people. these are these, again, hyperbolic statements that reminds me, if you think about the way, you know, prize fighters where they do that thing at the weigh-in -- >> yeah, they trash talk, yeah. >> newt's thing is, you're looking at the other guy, all of a sudden, he just smacks the other guy over the head. it's a sort of intimidation that you think he'll go this far, and newt will always go twice as far, to keep the other side guessing. >> of course, he's a notorious chicken hawk in terms of his behavior in real life. let's take a look at newt last night with hannity. here he is on home court with hannity. let's listen. >> first of all, he's going to say whatever he needs to win.
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second, he's going to have all the advantage of the mainstream media. he's going to have all the advantages of left wing billionaires like george soros. and he's going to have all the advantages of the hollywood crowd. and they're going to go out and they're going to have all the advantages of the unions. so they're going to try to raise $1 billion for a very practical reason. he can't afford to run in a fair election. >> jean, fair election, you know, i've watched this guy for years. opponents are always corrupt, they're fascist, and here he is saying the president is unfair and a crook because he has supported a lot of different people in this country. that makes him an unfair election? what is he talking about? this frank luntz stuff? who writes hi vocabulary for him? >> i think frank luntz, the republican wortsmith, was very close to newt in the 1990s, but i believe gingrich has mastered
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the art on his own, likely doesn't need an associate like frank to help him along. he's done this his whole career, as you say, he loves the adjective. he loves the eye-popping adjective. and he loves the telling adjective. so there you have the fair election. in other words, if obama wins, it's unfair. that kind of language gets salted through all of his speeches. i mean, the secular socialists that are running government right now, the inverse of that are conservative christians. these words -- this rather -- >> yeah, that's what he is now, yeah. >> and exactly. these are codes to some degree to followers who know his code. and in other cases, you know, he wants to be a grown-up intellectual out on the field. so big language, flowery language. you know, it can be impressive to people even if they don't know what in the world he's talking about. saw. >> let's bring in steve mcmahon.
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steve, he's another version without the sort of the new york charm of donald trump. here he is he's doing things like he accuses the president of the united states who has come up through the ivy league done incredibly academically well all his life. he calls him a con artist, a street hustler, he's played a con on us, same term "con" that donald trump uses. it's new york, it's street corner. newt gingrich has picked up on it. it conveys the notion of ghetto and hustler. i know what he's doing here and you know what he's doing. >> that's right. that's what he's doing here. that's what i was going to suggest, a racial code that he uses just as he uses for donald trump. i think he might have accelerated his announcement, because donald trump has getting so much attention for doing the very things that newt has been doing for so long. it's the verbal equivalent of shock and awe. he says these things because he knows that people cannot believe what he's saying, he knows it's
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edgy enough to get people on the right excited. >> this is the worst we're going to show right now since the welfare queen that he would pull, the young buck pulling up in line to use it for booze or something. this is the most graphic use of language. tell me you don't know what he's saying. here's newt last night on home court with hannity. let's watch the language. let him speak for himself. no filter from me. let's listen. >> if you look at the collapse of detroit and the rise of texas, and you say to yourself, which would you like better, the state that had the most job creation in america for the last ten years? or a city which has collapsed? i know, talking to governor rick perry and others i know how to get the whole couple to resemble texas. president obama knows how to get the whole country to resemble detroit. >> jean, how do you read that, detroit? >> first, i want to push back for a little bit. i've known newt gingrich for a long time.
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i personally would need more evidence to accuse him of being racist. or salting in racist marks. i think what he's doing is typically where he goes, and that is, this is liberal versus conservative. you have the pastoral, you know, you have the liberal urban areas and their collapse, and the pastoral free market system in the south, you know, being the standard by which he would embrace and try to take the country, i really think that's where he is. >> if you talk about it, new york, or san francisco. >> that's right. >> there's a lot of -- >> but detroit has collapsed. >> new york hasn't. >> it's a very black city. i think -- i don't -- whether newt gingrich is a racist, that didn't even cross my mind. he frequently, particularly with president obama, he traffics a highly-raced language.
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i don't think there's any way of getting away from that. obama is the avatar of detroit. he's the con artist and hustler. he's the kenyan, anti-colonialist. i think these things speak for themselves. >> let me go back to what he said about the president. let's go back to that quote about how he's really a mau-mau what if obama is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand kenyan, can you piece together his actions? that, he says is the most accurate model for his behavior. this person who is fundamentally out of touch. calling the guy, versus a mind-set of a mau-mau, jeanne, what do you make of that? >> i think he is trying to
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foster the nothing notion that obama is exotic and foreign and not real american. i think he's definitely trying to hit those veins in people and stir up that sense of concern. >> what's a kenyan, anti-colonial behavior? what's that for an american here? why would an american have an anticolonial, kenyan mind-set? i know the history of africa, you do, too. he's talking about the blacks who killed to get their independence. what's he talking about? in using that language about an american politician who group up the way barack obama, who never really, as a kid had not been to kenya. >> wasn't raised by his father. wasn't raised by his father. was raised by his white american mother from kansas and his white american grandparents where would this kenyan, mau-mau, anticolonial mentality come from, except ethnically? if this isn't race, i don't know what is, what he's talking about. >> again, i push back on the race thing. i think it's foreign.
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i think it's exotic. i think not one of us. and so i think that's where he's trying to go, that he's got a mindset that's not an american mind-set. >> why would he have -- why would he have a nonamerican mind-set? what would be newt's premise here? >> well, he was raised -- his father, of course, was foreign. >> he wasn't raised by his father. he was raised by his white american mother from kansas and her parents. how would he have a kenyan mind-set, an anticolonial mind-set? >> okay, i can't defend that, chris. >> it's indefensible. josh, your thoughts here. >> the one thing i think everybody forgets with newt, go back to his signature election. the huge blowout in 1994, just before the election, there was this horrible crime, down, i believe, it was in south carolina. susan smith. this mentally deranged woman who killed her kids, falsely accused some black man of having stolen
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her car. it turned out she killed her own children. newt finished the election on blaming this crime on the democrats. that is -- that's newt's style. this goes back 20, 30 years. and it's just his -- it's his signature. it's how he exists in politics. >> by the way, dave binge is trying to clean up detroit, and this whole epithet about detroit being a city that's had problems. i think that's a racist charge. i don't know what newt's heart is, i know he's trying to play this game. anybody that's playing those kind of politics is doing bad things for this country. thank you jeanne cummings, i know you have to be objective. thank you, steve and josh. gas is four bucks a gallon, really. high test is more. big oil is making markets. the oil companies, by the way, if you're against their tax status, you're un-american.
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catch that coming up. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ female announcer ] whether they're planned or not.
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i think you're out of touch. deeply, profoundly out of touch. and deeply and profoundly committed to sharing nothing. >> i don't think the american people want shared sacrifice. i think they want shared prosperity. and what we have to offer -- >> lovely statement. do you understand how out of touch that is? we don't get to shared prosperity until we get to shared sacrifice. >> wow. welcome back. that was a big explanation from rockefeller in west virginia and the leader of chevron. they all testified before the senate finance committee today that they need big tax breaks. and with the rising gas price everybody has to pay, their timing is pretty bad. joining me, senator chuck schumer of new york and senator debbie stabenow of michigan. senator schumer, what's going on with michigan? they seem to benefit any time there's any kerfuffle in the middle east? even though most of what we get doesn't come from over there. why do oil prices always go up
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when anything happens in the middle east even though we don't really rely on them for all the oil. >> it's called lack of competition. one of the worst moves that was made. and this was made by democratic and republican administrations alike was to let them all merge. imagine exxon mobil, bp, amoco. they don't compete. when the price of a barrel of oil goes up, the price at the gas pump goes up very fast. when the price of the barrel of oil goes down, it's very sticky and goes down slowly because they don't compete. plain and simple. and probably the best thing we could do is break them up. go back to the days when there were 10 or 15 competitors not just four or five. but that's not going to happen. >> do you think there's price leadership? >> absolutely. >> can you prove it? >> can you prove it? >> no. >> can you prove collusion? >> i think if it could be
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proven, they wouldn't do it. it's very hard to prove because they don't get in a room and conspire. one of them raises the price, the next day, everyone else magically coming up with the same amount. that's not illegal, at least at this point. it's price leadership, industrial organization. senator stabenow, let's take a look at this comment, a press release formerly put out by conoco. conocophillips highlights solid results and raises concerns over un-american tax proposals at an annual meeting of shareholders. what's that about, where they're questioning anyone who questions their tax status is un-american? >> well, it's really shocking, chris. and at the hearing today, in fact, my good friend chuck schumer asked them specifically about that. other colleagues as well, asked them to apologize for that. the idea that it's un-american to say that with huge deficits we have in this country where we're trying to figure out what needs to be cut, in order to move forward that we wouldn't look at, in some cases, a
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100-year-old tax breaks that have been given to the oil companies, when a barrel of oil was $17, now it's over $100. highest profits of any corporation in the world. and then they have the audacity to not only sock it to us at the pump and hold us hostage because there is no competition. but then taxpayers have to pay on top of that. when we look at how we're going to bring down the deficit, what should go. this is definitely something that should go. let me add one more thing, folks want to go out and buy these great electric vehicles that we're making in detroit and michigan, as well as other vehicle, that's a great way to get off of foreign oil. >> let's take a look at senator schumer. here you are today taking on the chairman of conoco phillips, let's listen. >> do you think anyone who advocates cutting these subsidies is un-american? yes or no. yes or no, sir.
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that one we deserve a yes or no answer. it was your release that said un-american? can you apologize for it? do any you others consider it un-american to be against the subsidies. if you are, raise your hand. all right. thank you. illustrate appreciate the other four of you different from you labeling them un-american. >> what do you make of this, senator? republicans in the congress do defend these tax breaks. they obviously benefit from them for financial support. but this is such an old argument. you probably grew up in it like i did. the oil companies control the senate. how does that happen? why do they get the tax breaks from the congress? >> well, they got the tax breaks because of lobbyists and political muscle. but you know we're in a different era in two ways. one, oil is $100 a barrel. not $30, not $40, not $50. their profits are greater than they've ever been. but second we have a huge profit. and everyone is supposed to sacrifice. and those on the other side of
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the aisle are saying let's cut cancer research. does anyone except these five executives think that those should be cut before we take back the tax breaks that they don't need? it's just -- you know, i sat at the hearing and i said the five of them are in their own little world. they probably go to something called the petroleum club in houston and they just talk to one another. they don't even understand the world that they're in. >> i think the petroleum club is in tulsa, actually, but there is one, and they all get together. >> whatever its name is. >> but it exists. >> it's not called the shared sacrifice club, i assure you. >> let me ask you, senator stabenow about the question of power. do the auto companies that you represent economically and geographically, do they want this? why don't they fight the oil companies? it seems to me it's almost a contradiction that they wouldn't
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be opposed to -- they would want cheaper gas, so they can get people to buy their cars and travel with them? >> well, they're not advocating for these subsidies. they're not advocating for these higher prices. that's for sure. right now they're rushing -- i'll be with gm tomorrow announcing 4,200 new jobs coming in michigan related to the chevy volt, because it's doing so well. ford has announced 7,000 new jobs. chrysler put on second shift in detroit at the jefferson plant for their great new vehicles. and we're coming back because they're making great new advance technology vehicles. chris, i think there's one really important thing. and that is the undertone today of the hearing was that somehow if we took away the taxpayer subsidies, they were going to raise our prices again. these billions of dollars of subsidies amount to about 1% of their profits. so it's absolutely ridiculous on the face of it. today, i said to them, does that mean that if we added more tax dollars you'd bring down the gas prices?
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i asked each of them, how much would it take for us to give you, as taxpayers, to bring down our prices? none would answer that. >> i think it's time to play hardball with these guys. thank you both. up next the amazing video that the tea party candidate jack kennedy that's running for congress in a three-way up in that district. attacking a republican party volunteer and then laughing about it. stay tuned to this on the side show. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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back to "hardball." now the sideshow. first up, when politicians go wild. jack davis is the tea party candidate running in that
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special race congressional race against a democrat and a republican. a tracker from the republican campaign confronted davis on why he withdrew from the debate this week. watch what happens? >> jack, why did you back out of the debate? >> do you want punched out? >> why? why did you -- ah! sir, why did you back out of the debate? ah! why did you back out of the debate? >> well, as a general rule, it's not advisable to assault a rival campaign worker while they're holding a video camera. this tied three-way race, can't wait for this one, may 24th. next up, through the looking glass, mike huckabee is producing animated history lessons for children. what was america like before ronald reagan? here's the conservative spin. >> the downturn in the economy is killing us, people are out of work, some of the morals are just gone. >> give me your money. >> and in iran, islamic fundamentalists stormed the u.s. embassy and took 52 american diplomats hostage. >> it's really bad. >> that guy's got a gun.
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come on. >> do something! >> ahh! >> why is everybody so excited? >> because they see hope. >> god had a plan for america. i see it as a shining city on a hill. if we ever forget that we are one nation under god, then we will be one nation gone under. >> i don't know whether that's right from a cambodian reed -- re-education camp or chairman mao's little red book. what propaganda. up next, mitt romney is defending the health care plan he himself put in plan in massachusetts. also one that obama used as a model no national health care. he's really in trouble. let's see him try to get out. he ought to be houdini to get out of this one. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ doctor ] here's some health information for people over 50.
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welcome back to "hardball." mitt romney is running for the senate back against ted kennedy in 1994, at that time he backed a national plan to require individual health care mandates just as president obama last year. he then passed a law as governor of massachusetts with the individual mandate for health care, and today he played defense on his record. let's listen. >> there were some similarities. and one similarity that i know bothers people a lot is the fact that there's a mandate in the massachusetts plan that i put in place. and let me tell you why there is a mandate in our plan. what we found in my state was that we had a number of citizens who recognized that they could
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get care -- coverage, health care, even though they didn't have insurance. that's actually true in most states. and so we chose the last alternative, which is to insist on personal responsibility. and to say to folks who could afford to buy insurance, either buy insurance yourself or pay your own way. this, again, under the tenth amendment was a state decision. other states can take a different choice. but the state decision we took was to insist upon personal responsibility. >> well, florida congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz is now chairwoman of the committee. i'm overwhelmed by what he says, he sounded like dr. arnot. in the same way newt gingrich sounds like orsen bean. exactly what barack obama got passed into law. how can he run against exactly what he was for nationally and state wide when he was governor
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up there? >> well, it's really mind-boggling, what his speech reminded me of today, remember at the end of "the wizard of oz," chris when toto comes back to reveal who the wizard is and dorothy and the scarecrow sees, and what the wizard is trying to do the whole movie is prevent people from seeing who he really is? that's what this speech reminded me of today. mitt romney can't run from the fact that he supported and proposed an almost identical plan to the affordable care act. it was the right thing to do. it made sense. it insured people that didn't have insurance, and it made sure that it spread costs to bring down the cost of health care. made sense. and that's why he's having such a difficult time saying he wants to repeal and replace which he really prefers to repeal and erase his own record, versus trying to continue to defend
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what he actually proposed and passed in massachusetts. it really boggles the mind. >> do you remember what the wizard said? >> pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. >> well said. thank you. exactly. here's governor mitt romney phrasing his own work with democrats on health care reform. let's listen. >> what's remarkable to me is that such a disparate group of people come together, my son said that having me and senator kennedy on the same stage will behind the same piece of landmark legislation will help slow global warming. that's because hell has frozen over. >> he jumped on his own line there. he was a moderate governor of massachusetts as you'd have to be as a republican. he sort of trimmed his sails, if he has any sails. do you have any idea what mitt romney believes, congresswoman? >> no, i don't think mitt romney
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knows what he believes. he seems to believe whatever he eds to say he believes. depending on the electorate that he's asking to support him. right now he's planning to put himself in front of a very conservative tea party-leaning electoral, and his past is haunting him and he's definitely trying to twist himself into a pretzel to run from it. it's impossible. >> what do you make of it, i know you're a democrat in the party, the leader. i'm wondering what you're up against. i get a sense you're not just up against an opposition, you're sort of up against a coalition of a leader, who is a reasonable republican, and then you have this protest element in the party that is not really an opposition party. they want to say no to everything. they don't like government. how are they ever going to get a candidate who fits both parts of that coalition? >> what's worse for america, chris, we're up against a party who has allowed themselves to be strangled by a right-wing fringe element of their party, which
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has made it impossible to come around the table like president obama has asked us to, and commit to shared sacrifice, really address creating jobs and turning the economic around, and take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit. unfortunately, the stranglehold that the tea party has on the republicans is not allowing them to do that, and unfortunately speaker boehner is allowing that to happen, which is unacceptable. >> debbie wasserman schultz, congresswoman. thank you. >> thanks. joining me, she's going to call on her capitol tonight as a former "boston globe" reporter. you covered him when he ran against ted kennedy. he ran a very formidable race against ted kennedy. had him scared there. more than any candidate ever, of course. then he became a moderate governor and pushed through health care. who is mitt romney? >> that's mitt romney, the governor, just not mitt romney, the presidential candidate. he's in an awkward position now, he was one of the architects of
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his health care plan, and had it failed spectacularly he might have been able to apologize and say it was a huge mistake. but actually, it's working out very well. virtually every child is insured. costs have been a little higher than anticipated but, frankly, health care costs were going up, you know, under the old plan anyway. so he can't even do that. he's kind of come up with this do as i say, not necessarily what i do argument, to appease the wing of the party who just can't stand the idea of a mandate even if it works, even if it brings down health care costs. he's in a touch position as a primary candidate. >> but he's really screwed here because he's not just a guy that has a measure to support in or defend in massachusetts, and you knew this, back when he was debating ted kennedy, he had supported the john chaffee plan. which basically was a national individual mandate, just like -- exactly what president obama has done. >> yeah. >> and now he's caught in his
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defenses like something like not everything i support i'm wild about. what? >> yeah, i think he also even after that made a comment on "meet the press," endorsing the idea of a national plan as well. i'm sure his opponents are going to dredge that up. he just can't come out and say, i guess, or feels he can't, to that wing of the party and say, look, this worked. you may not like the idea of a mandate but ultimately it's going to bring things down. >> i'm not sure whether president obama is the luckiest man or the republican party is the most desperate in history, you have to newt running, but how does mitt romney win with all those conservatives? how does he win in iowa with all the culture right there? he switched from pro-choice. i don't like these terms. pro-choice to pro-life. that's a dramatic shift when you say it like that? then he shifted to being on a mandate nationally to being completely against it, in fact, running against it? >> i don't think he wins those states. i think he's obviously well positioned in new hampshire and even in nevada.
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i think the way he wins a nomination is to basically get through the process, have the money to go state to state and say i'm the guy who can actually beat barack obama. i'm the one who can win independents over, because clearly some of these candidates won't stand a chance. >> you sound like -- you're trying to talk to pragmatists here. >> i think that's his only argument. right? >> i guess it is. it's the old dick nixon argument, it worked once. susan milligan, thank you. coming up, osama bin laden's handwritten journals. the navy s.e.a.l.s took them out of his compound and now we're learning how intent he was coming after us. this man had a mission killing us. this is "hardball."
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well, house speaker john boehner is a practicing roman catholic. he's giving the commencement address at catholic university in washington. now, he's criticized from catholic academics. for supporting some policies
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that violate church teaches. according to them, 75 professors have written a letter to boehner saying the republican budget boehner supports will hurt the poor and the elderly. here's a part of that letter -- from the apostles to the present, the magisterium to are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. your record is among the worst in congress. whoa, an interesting mix of church and state here. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." u.s. officials say that bin
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laden's personal journals and the intelligence cache taken from his compound prove that the al qaeda leader maintained command and control of the terrorist group al qaeda. he was obsessed with outdoing 9/11, believe it or not, and wanting to strike the united states again on the tenth anniversary of those attacks. the intelligence picture runs counter with what president bush said about the terrorist's mastermind seven months after 9/11. >> who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not. we haven't heard from him in a long time. and the idea of focusing on one person is really -- indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. and he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. so i don't know where he is. you know, i don't spend that much time on him, to be honest with you. i wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. again, i don't know where he is. i repeat what i said, i truly am not that concerned about him.
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>> roger cressey is an nbc terrorist analyst. gentlemen, i don't want to get partisan on this. but let's go to this bin laden treasure. is the cia and those putting this stuff out about him, are they doing a little ci-ops here, the grandfather with white hair as a yesterday's man, and at the same time portray him as they continue to overseer and director of the worst kind of planning in the world. they don't seem to mesh those two. are they sending out different messages there with the same facts? >> well, there is ci-ops. but the agency is trying to replace the narrative of the conventional wisdom that bin laden was not attached, was not engaged. he clearly was, although he took
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a bit of that crazy uncle upstairs approach as he was going through what he was trying to do. there are two narratives here, and they are not necessarily in conflict with each other. >> so the uncle character here, sort of a teddy roosevelt character running up and down the stairs with his sword drawn, and this guy who is planning actual spectacular events for next september. >> well, actions, chris, obviously speak louder than words. people i talk to at the pentagon are even referred to him as osama bin has been. indeed, on saturday, you did get the conflicting videos. was he in charge or was he really the crazy guy in the attic? but the fact of the matter is, since 9/11, he's had a couple of minor league successes but nothing really big. plainly, i sit at home every night and wish i had a million dollars. that doesn't give me a million dollars.
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and i think in the same way, osama bin laden in his final years was concocting all of these schemes, not that they would ever really come to fruition. >> let's go to a couple of points and speculate her you're the experts. maybe you can project what you know here. the fact that he wanted another spectacular operation to match 9/11, did that sort of take him out of the action because that's so hard to orchestrate, roger? >> chris, i think you're right. it did. to try and duplicate or surpass 9/11 was impossible for a number of reasons. but that was where he was focused because he believed if he could do that type of event again, that had the greatest chance of the united states changing its policy. it was all about affecting change in the u.s. political system. >> but did he have the apparatus, the finances, and the other -- well, the finances isn't that big a deal. it only cost about $150,000. but did he have the organizational ability to put together another one? >> no. and that's the lesson. you and i have talked for years
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about intent versus capability when it comes to al qaeda. bin laden had the intent over and over again. he wanted to do it. he lacked the capability. and that's in large part because we have been pounding them relentlessly for several years now. the destruction we have wrought on al qaeda's ability to do these mass casualty spectacular attacks is the main reason that bin laden failed to achieve his objective. >> president obama said that the u.s. may now be able to actually shut down al qaeda. this is optimistic. let's listen. >> we've got the opportunity, i think, to really finally defeat at least al qaeda in that border region between pakistan and afghanistan. that doesn't mean that we will defeat terrorism. it doesn't mean that al qaeda hasn't metastasized to other parts of the world where we've got to, you know, address operatives there. but it does mean we've got a chance i think to really deliver a fatal blow to this
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organization, if we follow aggressively in the months to come. >> well, did you think there was some secret ops going on with the cia releasing the fact that there's a dispute in al qaeda between his operational goal for big, spectacular events and the sort of metastasized elements wanting to do their own national thing? is the cia there trying to cause trouble in the organization, mark? >> no. i think al qaeda has splintered, and i do think you have franchises all over the place. the fact of the matter is they couldn't do another 9/11 because number one, as roger has said, we have been pounding them. but more importantly, in a typical american way, we underestimated bin laden before 9/11. a lot of things happened. we dealt with it in a rinky dink way. when 9/11 happened, we went not overboard, we certainly went in very heavy, and, you know, blasted them to smithereens. so you've got that sort of element that's made it very difficult for him to do any sort
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of big or for him to have done any sort of a big follow-on attack. >> now to you, roger. do we have enough information in that cache to do a munich style like in the movies, spielberg movie, where we can track down the people in afghanistan and pakistan based on the cache we have from that trove? >> we don't know the answer to that yet, chris. we hope so. there are three priorities in the exploitation of the information. one is current threats. what is in there about current plots and operatives? second, other high value targets, like zawahiri, kashmiri, some of the other potential successors. will there be any links to their locations? if i am those people right now, i am moving. i am not staying where i was when bin laden was still alive. >> i got to go. roger, thank you. thank you very much, roger. and thank you, mark. as always. when we return, let me finish with a frightening thought of newt gingrich actually being in this thing. even the idea is kind of an insult to the republicans.
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let me finish tonight with the desperation of the republican field. how desperate is it? any field in which newt gingrich thinks he is a serious candidate. that's how desperate it is. newt, nasty newt, has tricky dick beaten as a nickname. his running for president, even after even trying to get back into politics after what he pulled, is like nixon daring to run again after watergate. shameless.
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that's the word for this entry. newt is the guy who brought nastiness to the u.s. congress in the 1980s. he is a downward influence on american politics. he not only behaves nasty, he sells nasty. it's all about character. the other side is always corrupt or scaring people. it's always this scourge of righteous pretending negativity. he robs the political arena of joy and humanity and screeches anger and menace. i cannot believe there are young republicans out there, young people with hope, who want our country to be good and have good politics, to want to resurrect this element of freddie krueger politics. what kind of dream for america would a person have that would see this weird political element seep under the door of our political process into america's highest office? that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts right now. the united states senate select committee on ethics,

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